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“Guns kill far more quickly and efficiently than knives, or crossbows, or toenail clippers; and, unlike bombs, you don’t need to build one in your basement -- they come ready-made! There’s a reason why guns are the overwhelming weapon of choice among mass murderers.” Quentin R. Bufogle, author.
Apologists for the gun industry claim that mass shootings are “the price of freedom.” The killing and maiming of school children, church goers, or concert fans are necessary collateral damage to protect us from “bad guys” (burglars, criminals, terrorists, communists, government thugs, liberals who want to take away our guns...fill in your favorite boogeyman). But this is pure fantasy. We are not free because of guns.
Gun deaths are not the price of freedom. They are the price of stupid people swallowing the propaganda of the gun industry. They are the price of spineless politicians valuing campaign contributions over rational policy. They are the price of greed. They are the price of our violence soaked society. They are the price of having over 300 millions guns widely available to anyone. They are the price of allowing military style, high capacity weapons in civilian hands.
Real freedom would be not needing a gun. Real freedom would be living in a tolerant, peaceful, just society where violence is not tolerated or glorified. But instead we have a culture that honors and promotes violence. Our entertainment society is full of examples.
We have many myths about guns. From stories about our country’s origin to anecdotes about protecting your home, these stories mislead people into believing guns are necessary. The stories are often untrue or misleading.
A common misbelief is that private gun ownership is a fundamental American right like freedom of speech or religion. This interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is new. Prior to 2008 the Supreme Court had ruled several times that individual private gun ownership was NOT protected. The Court had also ruled that restrictions on gun ownership and use, such as outlawing machine guns, were constitutional. But the current Court has reversed these reasonable restrictions on guns. As Mark Joseph Stern says, “... we are trapped in our own toxic infatuation with a new “liberty”: The liberty of anyone, anywhere, to access a gun...”(The Price We Pay for Liberty?, Slate Magazine, Dec. 2, 2015).
Another myth used to justify guns, especially assault rifles, is that citizens may have to defend their “freedom” from the government. The belief is that unrestricted access to firearms is necessary in protecting individual rights from overreach by government. To prevent this the the government plans to seize our guns. This is absurd from many angles. Our gun laws are actually very weak. No major effort has ever been made to collect guns.
“If you’re one of those delusional 2nd Amendment types who believes you and your trailer park ‘militia’ might need to take on the Army, the Navy, the 101st Airborne and SEAL Team 6, not only should you be denied the right to bear arms -- but the right to your belt & shoelaces as well ...” Quentin R. Bufogle
The conspiracy theorists are simple crazy. OUR “FREEDOM” ACTUALLY RESTS ON DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS AND THE RULE OF LAW, NOT THE THREAT OF INSURRECTION.
The stories of our national beginning promotes guns. We are told that “Minuteman” patriots grabbed their hunting rifles and defeated English “tyranny.” But the truth is the Revolutionary War required an organized army with military equipment. General Washington pleaded (often to no avail) with the Continental Congress for rifles, cannon, powder, uniforms, and food for the army. Without French military and logistical intervention we probably would have lost that war. The Revolutionary War was lost by the English for many reasons. Civilian gun ownership was not one of them.
It is also a myth that the Revolutionary War was about fighting for “freedom” from British “slavery.” In fact, our “freedoms” were not actually established until years after the war was over. The war ended in 1783 but the Bill of Rights was not ratified until December of 1791. The war was largely about opposing taxes. The wealthy of the time did not want to accept their responsibility as British citizens and pay their share. The hoopla about “freedom” was the propaganda to fire up the troops. In actual practice British laws and traditions were adopted by the United States and most citizens were no more “free” after the war than under colonial rule. The Revolutionary War was fought to gain independence from England but did not create, or ensure “freedom” for the people.
It is a myth that guns keep us safe. The truth is owning a gun has been linked to higher risks of homicide, suicide, and accidental deaths. States with higher gun ownership have higher gun murder rates. In states with “Stand Your Ground” laws those policies have been linked to a 7 to 10 percent increase in homicides. Various studies suggest that being armed increases your chances of getting into a confrontation. (Source: 10 Pro-Gun Myths Shot Down, Mother Jones, January 31, 2013).
Guns, especially assault rifles, are marketed and sold on fear. The gun industry profits from this fear. Fear that Democrats, when in power, would pass tougher gun laws resulted in a spike in gun sales. Fear after mass shootings increased gun sales. Fear is why 50% of guns are sold to 3% of the population.
“Guns are a symptom of society’s addiction to fear. And efforts to pass gun control legislation are continually on the political defensive, caught between the addicts and the profiteers.” Robert C. Koehler (A Texas Church Massacre and the Illusion of Armed Salvation, Common Dreams, November 9, 2017)
The LEAST we can do to prevent future mass killings is to ban assault riffles and high capacity magazines. NO CIVILIAN NEEDS AN ASSAULT RIFLE. They are for military use. They are for killing people. They should be outlawed.